Accommodate students who miss class meetings

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Instructors teaching courses with required in-person class meetings this fall should be prepared to accommodate students who miss class meetings if they need to isolate or quarantine for COVID-related reasons. Before the first day of the fall semester, instructors should consider making adjustments to their unplanned absence policies and ensure that all students understand them.

Setting course attendance policies

It is the right of the faculty, as part of academic freedom and their control of the curriculum, to set and manage their own attendance policies. This article presents recommendations and resources that instructors can use to help make those decisions.

Accommodation options

There are three basic accommodations from which to choose:

Choosing an accommodation

Pick a primary option first

Offering your remote students more than one option for covering missed in-person activities is a great practice, but it will take time to implement. If possible, choose a primary option that will best fit most situations, make sure you can deliver it, and then add other options as needed and time permits.

Streaming versus recording

Is it better to live stream or record your in-person meetings? Winona State University supports several tools and methods for doing both. Live, online participation in class meetings can be very engaging. In other cases, a recording of the live event or an equivalent studio recording may be more effective and easier to implement.

Align options with activities

Consider aligning specific remote participation options with specific in-person activities. For some class meetings, it may be best for remote students to attend live, online. For other class meetings, watching a recording or participating in alternative activities may be more effective.


Recently, Minnesota State added a new course delivery media code called HyFlex to refer to fully in-person courses in which the instructor allows all students to be absent from any in-person class meeting and attend live online, watch a recording, or engage in substitute online activities instead, on a meeting-by-meeting basis. Because instructors cede control of in-person attendance in HyFlex courses, this method should not be used this fall unless you have been assigned to a room that accommodates all of your students, socially distanced, and you have made arrangements to offer live, online access, meeting recordings, and/or alternative learning activities to all students for the entire semester.

Be as flexible as possible

You are free to use different accommodations across courses, multiple accommodations within the same course, and different accommodations for different students and/or at different times. Flexibility and choice can help reduce stress and ensure that all students have the same access and opportunity to succeed.

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